Home > News & Events > Providence Junior Jake Yonally Authors Published Article and Wins Writing Award

Providence Junior Jake Yonally Authors Published Article and Wins Writing Award

February 14, 2018 by Elaine Rottman

Jake Yonally, a Providence junior and elite soccer player, recently had an article on Calvin Coolidge published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), a national economics and liberty think tank, and was recognized with a major writing award for a critical essay on The Rat Pack and the rise of equality of opportunity in America. 

“Being published by FEE has been a highlight of my life,” says the serious and affable young man. “I regularly read the publication and respect the authors and opinions I come across there. It is a cool opportunity to have my name next to their’s.”

Jake’s FEE article, “He Was a President Who Understood Principle,” is not the first he has submitted but is the first accepted for publication. Most likely, it won’t be his last, as he is committed to honing his scholarship and writing skills while continuing to submit articles for publication.

Jake credits his Providence humanities teacher, Bruce Rottman, with whom he is doing an independent study, as the inspiration behind his writing success. “Mr. Rottman opened my eyes to what else there could be and what I could be thinking about beyond playing soccer and jumping through the necessary hoops to get good grades,” he says. “I began to write for fun and as a way to put my thoughts together in a coherent manner.”

Rottman is guiding Jake on an independent study of important political, philosophical, and economic thinkers. “Jake knows more about important ideas than just about any student I’ve ever taught,” says the veteran teacher, noting that Jake reads high-level thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Nietzsche to Hayek. “It is a fun challenge for me to come up with additional writers for him to tackle.”

Jake’s analysis of how the success of the ‘60s-era Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop) parallels with opening of equality of opportunity in America earned him a Gold Key in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in the West Writing Region-at-Large (California). Originally written as a blog post for the Libertas Scholars Program at Providence, the essay notes how the Rat Pack embodied the immense freedom and sense of possibility that free markets made available in America. 

Last summer, Jake studied Enlightenment thought at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, looking at the work of philosophers such as Adam Smith and David Hume. He believes “philosophy is the base of a pyramid of thought, supporting a hierarchy of subjects building on that base, including economics, and culminating in applications such as politics and business.”  When he goes to college, Jake plans to double major in philosophy and economics; he looks forward to four years spent diving deep into those subjects. He is looking at a wide range of colleges and wants to attend a school where he can “learn the most from the people who are the best in their fields.” 

Jake, the son of Karen and Matt Yonally, is not waiting for college to seek out those learning opportunities. He attends “as many FEE conferences as I can,” is looking into a program where he would be paired with a professor to do research and publish the results, and frequently attends Young America’s Foundation Reagan Ranch Center Roundtable talks here in Santa Barbara. 

“Whenever I hear a speaker who inspires me, I think, ‘that is what I would like to do with my life,’” he says, with enthusiasm. “I want to inspire the next generation in the fight for freedom.”

With his deep thinking, competitive drive, and kind character, Jake already is an inspiration to his peers and to the generation that has prepared the way for a student with his attributes to flourish and make an impact in the world of ideas.

To read Jake Yonally’s work, see:

“He Was a President Who Understood Principle,” FEE, February 1, 2018. https://fee.org/articles/he-was-a-president-who-understood-principle/

“The Rat Pack and Equality of Opportunity in America,” Providence Libertas Scholars, November 9, 2017. http://prov-libertas.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rat-pack-and-equality-of.html